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Book part
Publication date: 28 August 2019

Theodoros Fouskas

This chapter focuses on the case of migrant Filipina live-in domestic workers in Greece and how the frame of their work and employment in precarious, low-status/low-wage…

Abstract

This chapter focuses on the case of migrant Filipina live-in domestic workers in Greece and how the frame of their work and employment in precarious, low-status/low-wage jobs and race discrimination at work, that is, the employers’ residences, affect their participation in secondary groups of solidarity and workers and their representation in them, that is, community, migrant labour associations and trade unions, during the economic crisis in Greece. According to the results of in-depth interviews Filipina migrants are entrapped in a frame of isolative and exploitative working conditions and racial discrimination at work, that is, personal services, care and domestic work. In this working context, most of the interviewed migrant Filipina live-in domestic workers appear to have developed individualistic perceptions, they act in an atomistic manner, form materialistic beliefs, are indifferent to collectivity and solidarity and are isolated from their compatriots and other workers. They have low self-perceptions and expectations for social advancement and deal with their social and labour-related problems individually, or completely resign from claiming them.

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Race Discrimination and Management of Ethnic Diversity and Migration at Work
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-594-8

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Book part
Publication date: 6 March 2012

Rosie Cox

This chapter examines the relationship between the gendering of domestic work – its construction as ‘women's work’ – and the treatment within migration regimes of people…

Abstract

This chapter examines the relationship between the gendering of domestic work – its construction as ‘women's work’ – and the treatment within migration regimes of people who do such work. Research on paid domestic workers to date has highlighted that there are many examples of migrant domestic workers being subject to more stringent, limiting or invasive visa regulations than other migrant workers (see, e.g. Constable, 2003; Mundlak & Shamir, 2008; Pratt, 2004; Yeoh & Huang, 1999a, 1999b). Additionally, domestic workers can be excluded from employment protections, such as those that ensure minimum wages or maximum working hours for other groups (Hondagneu-Sotelo, 2001; Mundlak & Shamir, 2008; Pratt, 2004).

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Transnational Migration, Gender and Rights
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-202-9

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Article
Publication date: 11 December 2019

Wee Chan Au, Uracha Chatrakul Na Ayudhya, Yan Soon Tan and Pervaiz K. Ahmed

The purpose of this paper is to explore the work-life (WL) experiences of live-in women migrant domestic workers (MDWs), who represent a significant proportion of migrant…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the work-life (WL) experiences of live-in women migrant domestic workers (MDWs), who represent a significant proportion of migrant workers globally. MDWs play a key role in enabling the work-life balance (WLB) of others, namely the middle-class households that employ them. Yet, their experiences have largely been invisible in mainstream WL literature. The authors draw on an intersectional approach to frame the WL experiences of this marginalized group of women at the intersection of being secondary labour segment workers, with significant legal and employment restrictions as migrant workers, who work and live in the same place as their employers.

Design/methodology/approach

Qualitative interviews were conducted with 13 women MDWs from Indonesia and the Philippines working in Malaysia. The women talked about the meaning of work as MDWs, how they maintain familial connections whilst working abroad, and how they negotiate their WLB as live-in workers. Thematic analysis of the interviews focused on the intersection of the women’s multiple dimensions of disadvantage, including gender, class and temporary migrant-foreigner status, in shaping their accounts of the WL interface.

Findings

Three thematic narratives highlight that any semblance of WLB in the MDWs’ lived experience has given way to the needs of their employers and to the imperative to earn an income for their families back home. The themes are: working as MDWs enables the women and their families back home to have a life; the co-existence of WL boundary segmentation and integration in relation to “real” and “temporary” families; and the notion of WLB being centred around the women’s ability to fulfil their multiple duties as MDWs and absent mothers/sisters/daughters.

Research limitations/implications

The study is based on a small sample of live-in women MDWs in Malaysia, intended to promote typically excluded voices and not to provide generalizable findings. Accessing potential participants was a considerable challenge, given the vulnerable positions of women MDWs and the invisible nature of their work.

Practical implications

Future research should adopt a multi-stakeholder approach to studying the WL experiences of women MDWs. In particular, links with non-governmental organizations who work directly with women MDWs should be established as a way of improving future participant access.

Social implications

The study underscores the existence of policies and regulations that tolerate and uphold social inequalities that benefit primary labour segment workers to the detriment of secondary labour segment workers, including women MDWs.

Originality/value

Extant WL literature is dominated by the experiences of “the ideal work-life balancers”, who tend to be white middle-class women, engaged in professional work. This study offers original contribution by giving voice to a taken-for-granted group of women migrant workers who make other people’s WLB possible. Moreover, the study challenges WL research by underscoring the power inequities that shape the participants’ marginal and disadvantaged lived experience of work, life, family and WLB.

Details

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, vol. 39 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-7149

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Book part
Publication date: 10 December 2018

Geraldine Pratt and Migrante BC

We contextualize contemporary domestic worker organizing in Vancouver within a history of domestic worker organizing in Canada and then build the argument that their…

Abstract

We contextualize contemporary domestic worker organizing in Vancouver within a history of domestic worker organizing in Canada and then build the argument that their organizing has been structured by the gendered geographies of: international migration; the location of the work in the private home; and the prevalence of stepwise migration of Filipina domestic workers to Canada. These gendered geographies have led to a distinctive mode of organizing: in the community around a wide range of issues that enfold social reproduction into workplace issues to engage the entirety of individuals’ and families’ lives across the life course. Domestic workers’ organizing is grounded in the spatialities and materialities of their lives, and seemingly familiar gender scripts take on an active force in the domestic workers’ mobilization. Confronting the contradictions of organizing domestic workers and organizing to revalue domestic work points to the enduring undervaluation of feminized workers and their work, as well as the potential for intersectional solidarities along with the need for multisectoral strategies.

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Gendering Struggles against Informal and Precarious Work
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-368-5

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Article
Publication date: 6 May 2014

Masood Gheasi, Peter Nijkamp and Piet Rietveld

Migration waves have a significant impact on cultural diversity. But in various sections of the economy the authors observe large numbers of unregistered workers. The…

Abstract

Purpose

Migration waves have a significant impact on cultural diversity. But in various sections of the economy the authors observe large numbers of unregistered workers. The purpose of this paper is to map out the socio-economic situation of unregistered migrant workers and aims to identify the drivers of their labour market position in terms of job opportunities and salary. The specific focus of this study will be on undocumented immigrant workers involved in the domestic work (or household) sector in the Netherlands.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper offers empirical evidence on two levels: the individual level (migrant domestic workers), and the household level (from an employer perspective).

Findings

The paper finds that years of work experience and social network participation – in particular, family relationships and a combination of friends with employer relationships – increases the chances of finding a higher paid irregular job. From a household perspective, there appears to be a positive relationship between both the age of the employer and the size of the household on the one hand and the hours of domestic work needed per week on the other hand. Clearly, demographic change towards an ageing population will increase the demand for undocumented domestic workers.

Practical implications

Reliable data on undocumented immigrants living and working in developed economies are rare. This also holds true for the Netherlands. For labour unions, this is a neglected category of workers and hence it is important to investigate their job conditions.

Originality/value

The Netherlands is becoming an ageing society and this is a factor that increases the demand for irregular domestic work. This paper explores the role of ageing and labour market participation on household demand for irregular domestic work. Furthermore, the paper analyses the impact of social capital dimensions on access to a better-paid illegal job for undocumented migrant domestic workers in the Netherlands.

Details

International Journal of Manpower, vol. 35 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7720

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Book part
Publication date: 30 August 2019

Francesca Alice Vianello

The aim of this chapter was to analyze of the most hazardous aspects of home care work in Italy.

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this chapter was to analyze of the most hazardous aspects of home care work in Italy.

Methodology/Approach

The chapter is based on a multi-method analysis conducted in Italy, including a survey on a sample of 867 home care assistants, and four focus groups organized with home care assistants.

Findings

The data collected show that: (1) there is a strong correlation between the physical and emotional complexity of the work and the workers’ malaise; (2) the live-in formula is not clearly linked with high levels of psychophysical malaise, while isolation is associated much more strongly with a high index of malaise; and (3) violence in the workplace is clearly one of the main risks to which home care assistants are exposed.

Research Limitations/Implications

The findings may suffer from limitations due to the type of data collected. First, it was a convenience survey, so the results are not generalizable and they may be negatively influenced by bias relating to sample self-selection. Second, the empirical research was not designed to investigate occupational health alone, so accurate information on symptoms, causes of ill-health, experiences of violence, and the meaning of respondents’ malaise and of the episodes of violence were not available. Third, with the help of an epidemiologist, we could have included some diagnostic tests to better ascertain the workers’ state of health.

Originality/Value of Paper

The chapter offers an original contribution to sociological research on the occupational health hazards from a gender-specific perspective. First, it investigates workers’ health risks in an understudied and highly feminized and racialized occupational sector. It also analyzes the implications of both the emotional and the body work on the workers’ health. It deals with the correlation between cohabitation and health problems. Finally, it looks into the impact of workplace violence on workers’ health, which is a strongly gendered issue, and rooted in social processes that stigmatize and racialize migrant women employed as home care assistants.

Details

Underserved and Socially Disadvantaged Groups and Linkages with Health and Health Care Differentials
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-055-9

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1997

Pierrette Hondagneu‐Sotelo

This article uses the case of paid domestic work in Los Angeles to argue that affluent and middle‐class members of U.S. society constitute important participants in the…

Abstract

This article uses the case of paid domestic work in Los Angeles to argue that affluent and middle‐class members of U.S. society constitute important participants in the informal economy. In‐depth, tape‐recorded interviews conducted with thirty‐five employers of nannies and house cleaners, and survey responses of 154 Latina house cleaners and nannies shows that compliance with government regulations, as indicated by payment of Social Security, Medicare and federal tax withholdings, are rare. Affluent citizens may not directly depend on informally generated income, but as employers of paid domestic workers and nannies, they do depend on informally organized and remunerated services. Employers of paid domestic workers rely on three major narrative strategies to distance themselves from the regulations, arguing that the standards should be followed by certain categories of people (attorneys, celebrities, the very wealthy), that the regulations apply only to those employing full‐time help, and that the regulations are illegitimate because both undocumented workers and the state lack legitimacy. These rationalizations allow them to simultaneously condemn Zoe Baird and yet follow the same practices. Upgrading the occupation requires state support and the education of employers. This process would lead to greater recognition of paid domestic work as an occupation, one that merits the protections and regulatory guidelines governing other jobs.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 17 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Book part
Publication date: 30 September 2020

Katherine Eva Maich

Laws geared toward regulating the employment relationship cling to traditional definitions of workplaces, neglecting the domain of the home and those who work there…

Abstract

Laws geared toward regulating the employment relationship cling to traditional definitions of workplaces, neglecting the domain of the home and those who work there. Domestic workers, a population of largely immigrant women of color, have performed labor inside of New York City's homes for centuries and yet have consistently been denied coverage under labor law protections at both the state and federal level. This article traces out the exclusions of domestic workers historically and then turn to a particular piece of legislation – the 2010 New York Domestic Worker Bill of Rights – which was the first law of its kind to regulate the household as a site of labor, therefore disrupting that long-standing pattern. However, the law falls short in granting basic worker protections to this particular group. Drawing from 52 in-depth interviews and analysis of legislative documents, The author argues that the problematics of the law can be understood by recognizing its embeddedness, or rather the broader political, legal, historical, and social ecology within which the law is embedded, which inhibited in a number of important ways the law's ability to work. This article shows how this plays out through the law obscuring the specificity of where this labor is performed – the home – as well as the demographic makeup of the immigrant women of color – the whom – performing it. Using the case study of domestic workers' recent inclusion into labor law coverage, this article urges a closer scrutiny of and attention to the changing nature of inequality, race, and gender present in employment relationships within the private household as well as found more generally throughout the low-wage sector.

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Rethinking Class and Social Difference
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83982-020-5

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Book part
Publication date: 10 December 2018

Abstract

Details

Gendering Struggles against Informal and Precarious Work
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-368-5

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Article
Publication date: 3 August 2015

Essam A. H. Mansour

The purpose of this study is to provide first-hand information regarding domestic labour/labourers in Egypt. The researcher tries to investigate the information rights and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to provide first-hand information regarding domestic labour/labourers in Egypt. The researcher tries to investigate the information rights and needs of these vulnerable and marginalized groups in Egypt in terms of its thoughts, perceptions, attitudes, motivations, techniques, preferences, ways, tools and problems encountered towards using of and accessing information. The study, therefore, attempts to look at, as possible, the many different characteristics of local domestic workers in Egypt and affecting their use of and access to information.

Design/methodology/approach

Methodology used here was an adaptive form of snowball sampling of a heterogeneous demographic group of participants in the local domestic work in Egypt, used to select focus groups to explore a range of relevant issues.

Findings

Demographically, this study showed that local domestic labour in Egypt, to a great extent, is occupied and performed by women and children, and the average age of the total interviewed participants was around 31 years. Over half of participants were uneducated, followed by nearly a quarter of them were with no formal education and just a small number had some primary education. This study concluded that a large number of participants were described as illiterate and nonskilled labourers. Participants’ income proved that it was one of barriers to use of and access to information where a large number of participants were labelled as low-income workers. The information-seeking behaviour (ISB) profile of participants indicated a preference for verbal over written, informal over formal and undocumented over documented information channels and sources to solve problems relating to everyday existence using some helping tools and devices especially cell phones. The most popular information sources mentioned and followed by participants were verbal information with friends, peers and colleagues in neighbouring households either via telephones, especially cell phones, or face-to-face meeting. TV and Radio, newspapers and magazines were, respectively, the most famous formal sources participants use. Information related to work, family affairs, security and health issues was most commonly desired and wanted by participants. Participants mentioned that their priorities of accessing information were to help in work-related activities such as cooking cleaning and decorating, to know new kitchen recipes, to assist in the education of the employer’s children. Others added that they were also seeking for information for getting promoted and having some fun especially through audiovisual sources like TV and Radio. They were not commonly using libraries due to the fact that most of them were uneducated, and the education of the some others was limited. However, this study showed that there was a little and accidental use for some libraries like public and children libraries and a small number of them was using the employer’s home library. In terms of using technologies related to the use of information like the Internet, the study found such access was an issue, as a very small number of participants were using it mainly for personal information. Regarding challenges, concerns and problems faced by local domestic workers in Egypt during using of and accessing information, the study found that the most important challenges participants faced in this study were the illiteracy and lack of awareness about the basic rights and perception of information rights and needs. Other challenges like the time, psychological burdens, the social image being domestic worker, lack of accessible information channels, lack of training and skills and also lack of money needed to access information were also an issue.

Research limitations/implications

This study comes to respond strongly to the great global concern on the neglected and marginalized sector of work/workers in Egypt. It provides information on invisible forms of domestic labour/labourers, and indicates how their rights, especially towards accessing information, are violated. Any findings of this study may generate interest and create awareness on the needs and conditions of domestic labour/labourers among marginalized labour advocates, policymakers and the civil society.

Originality/value

The literature on this topic is scarce and, therefore, this paper gives important and significant insight into how to assist local domestic workers in Egypt with information needs.

Details

The Electronic Library, vol. 33 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0264-0473

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